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A one-month old baby narrowly escaped burning to death in a fire on Sunday after a shack in Phaphamani was allegedly set alight after a family brawl.
The blaze left only two walls standing and reduced everything in the shack to ashes. Clothing, bedlinen, furniture, crockery, groceries and appliances were all lost in the fire.
Luvuyo Hashe, who lives with his girlfriend and two children in the shack, said he was sad because he had not expected the disaster at all. “I’ll probably spend the night at my sister’s place in J Street,” he added.
According to an eyewitness, the fire was started while the baby was still inside the shack and the neighbours took great risks to rescue it before attempting to put the fire out. “They called the fire department and the police to the scene,” she added.
She said the woman who allegedly set the shack alight was beaten up by the residents to such an extent that an ambulance was summoned. However, when the ambulance arrived, along with the police, she left with the police after being arrested.
Hashe said that an argument between himself and his girlfriend’s sister ensued after he noticed that she was wearing a pair of shoes which has been stolen from his shack earlier in the year. “I asked for the shoes, she resisted so I forcibly took them away from her,” he added.
Hashe said that at this stage the woman, who cannot be named until she is charged in court, threatened to set his shack alight. “We didn’t take her threats seriously, we continued drinking where we were when the argument started,” he said.
Screams from the neighbours alerted Hashe and his girlfriend to what was happening. “When we come out of the house in which we were, we saw a large cloud of smoke covering Phaphamani,” he said.